45 years ago today - Jan 15, 1979-Monday

[Leonard Arrington]

Last Friday night Grace and I attended a study group in the Lion House as guests of Wayne and Helen Wiscomb. The study group has been going for 20 or 30 years and includes a number of Seventies. There were present the Neal Maxwells, the Duff [Marion D.] Hanks, and a number of other important Church officials. The speaker was Elder Burton Howard of the First Council of the Seventy, who spoke on the history of the Church in Mexico. He was appointed some years ago by President [Marion G.] Romney to be coordinator on the Church in Mexico-partly, I suppose, because he knew Mexico and Spanish and partly because he was a lawyer. His principal responsibility was to see that we on this end did not do anything that jeopardized the legal position of the Church in Mexico. He said that after receiving the request to give this talk, he telephoned President Romney and asked him how much he could say. President Romney said, "I am going to leave that up to your good judgment, but let me tell you a
story to keep in mind." Pres. Romney then said that a derelict had died and his remains were taken to the morgue. The county thought it would have to bury him, but directly there

came to the morgue a well dressed prosperous looking person who introduced himself and said he was the brother of the deceased. He said he had treated the deceased badly in his life but he would try to make amends and would see that he was buried well. So he made arrangements with the mortuary for a splendid funeral and coffin and flowers and a musician and so on. He seemed genuinely repentant and anxious to show him the best of respect. He came back to the mortuary, and the mortician asked him to help him move the body into the coffin. The fellow agreed to do this and in the process he stumbled, the body turned over, and a set of false teeth fell out. The man exclaimed, "This can't be my brother. He didn't have any false teeth." And we examined the body very closely and decided after all it wasn't his brother. So he cancelled all the agreements he had made about the funeral and coffin and music and so on. "This couldn't be my brother." The mortician then looked at the
body and mumbled under his breath, "If you'da kept your mouth shut you'd have had a good burial!"

[Confessions of a Mormon historian : the diaries of Leonard J. Arrington, 1971-1997, Gary James Bergera, editor, Signature Books, 2018]

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